Excellence Reporter: Mr. and Mrs. Schlaepfer, what is the meaning of life?
Colene Schlaepfer: From the moment we are born we are dependent on relationships to survive. The love and care of parents until we leave their “nest” forms and sustains us. For us, a husband /wife therapy team, the meaning of life is closely tied to relationships.
Our love and care for each other, as well as caring for our large family and our clients, is central in everything we do. One of our favorite activities is reading aloud to each other. Affection is our shield for everyday annoyances as well as big problems. We practice, not always perfectly, what we preach to couples about clear communication and problem solving.
We share the delights and crises created by the relationships our grandchildren move in and out of as young adults, recognizing that we had our days of loving and guiding and now they must make their own mistakes. On rare occasions they ask us about things like the meaning of life.
We are privileged to watch as couples learn to heal each other’s relationship hurts. Love and relationships not only keep the species going but provide the most abiding pleasures. To us, love is central to the meaning of life.
Fred Schlaepfer: To me, the fulfillment of meaning in life is in cherishing…cherishing my loved ones. Especially important is cherishing my wife whose devotion and close connection has been a huge inspiration to me. Beyond that, I achieve meaning through connection to nature, to community and country, and through a healthy relationship to all whom I touch.
~Colene Sawyer Schlaepfer, PhD, MFT and Fred S. Schlaepfer, MBA, MFT, Marriage and Family Therapists
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